NASA sets new course

Space and Aeronautics be damned, we’re now officially on a new course as indicated by two recent NASA news items.

First up, from the WaPo:

University of Colorado-Boulder faculty member Waleed Abdalati has been selected as NASA’s chief scientist.

The 46-year-old associate geography professor will start the two-year term in January.

Abdalati directs the Earth Science Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, a venture of the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His research focuses on understanding changes in Earth’s ice cover.

Abdalati will be chief adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs, planning and science investments. He’ll work with the White House, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.

It’s a most interesting selection especially when you see where the man’s specialties lie and when you consider that he’s been named to a post that was actually cut back in 2005.

Next item, from The Examiner:

When we think of NASA, the first thing that most Americans picture is the men and women of the astronaut corps. It turns out that the White House has been thinking about them as well – as something that needs to be cut. The Obama administration has requested a 10-month long study be held to determine the appropriate ‘size’ of NASA’s astronaut corps.

The proposal to cut NASA’s astronaut corps comes on the heels of numerous successive cuts that the space agency has endured over the past year. Many view the loss of the corps as one more blow to both spaceflight experience as well as national prestige. 

“Since he got in office Obama has been dismantling NASA step by step,” said a long-time NASA employee who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. “He put Bolden and Garver in charge and they’ve worked day and night to see everything that NASA does is either torn apart or turned into something that furthers their agenda.” 

Obama promised transformative change and that’s exactly what we’re getting. 

2012 may not get here soon enough.

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